And what in the end do we learn from all this ceaseless change?
Mourn. We learn to mourn.
By Amorak Huey
I think of all the straight clubs I’ve been in back in Texas, clubs with names like Tejano Saloon and Hillbilly Heaven and ghostly unwritten letters hovering behind their neon signs, letters that spell “Straight,” a sign I cannot help but read, a sign I carry with me always like a former job’s nametag I can’t bring myself to toss. I think of a lifetime of passing, of the lessons learned early in the school playground, of what could happen to me if I kissed another man at one of those clubs, if I held hands.
From "On Failed Bombs and Passing" by José Antonio Rodríguez
Jerrod is an idiot. No, really. He looks a bit like a sweet potato and has the same amount of brains. If you smacked his head with a spoon it would echo. He’s a criminal, too. On the first day of class, I was behind him in the breakfast line, and I saw him slip an extra Toastette into his jacket pocket. I’m not a snitch, so I didn’t say anything, but when he kept doing it all week I told a teacher. He stared at the floor the whole time she scolded him and didn’t say sorry or anything. Then, out of nowhere, he exploded. He started yelling at the teacher, and he threw down his plate. It shattered. I’d never seen that strong of an expression on his face, and I’ve never seen one since. It was like he was possessed or something. The teacher just stood there and waited for him to finish. He got sent to the office and doesn’t steal food anymore. Mama says to watch out for people like that who don’t respect authorities.
From "Flu" by Claire Cooper
Cover art: "Idaho Girls" by Adam Rubin